Fox Searchlight taps rapper for 'Notorious' biopic

After a yearlong search, Fox Searchlight has finally found its Notorious B.I.G.

Jamal Woolard (aka rapper Gravy), will topline the biopic “Notorious,” about the slain rapper.

Angela Bassett, Derek Luke and Anthony Mackie also will star.

Story centers on the life of Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G., from his beginnings as a Brooklyn crack dealer to his rise to the top of the world of hip-hop; his murder has never been solved. Bassett will play Voletta Wallace, mother of the singer. Luke will play Sean “Diddy” Combs, who was in the car when Biggie was killed. And Mackie will portray Biggie’s hip-hop rival Tupac Shakur.

George Tillman Jr. will helm “Notorious” from a screenplay by Cheo Hodari Coker and Reggie Rock Bythewood. Filming is set to start March 24 and in all five boroughs of New York.

Newcomers Antonique Smith, Naturi Naughton, Dennis White and Julia Pace Mitchell round out the cast.

Wayne Barrow, Mark Pitts, Bob Teitel and Trish Hofmann also are producing, while Combs is exec producing.

Searchlight will bow “Notorious” on Jan. 16.

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